10 things to do in Northern Ireland

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Here are ten exciting things to do 13-19 May

1. Little Amal, Belfast, County Antrim, 16-19 May. Don’t miss Little Amal’s Belfast visit this May. A signature event for the Belfast 2024 programme, this striking 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, represents all children fleeing war, violence and persecution. Her spectacular arrival, via the River Lagan, will be followed by a free outdoor performance at Custom House Square where Little Amal will be met by the Seahorse and the Wolf – two ancient heraldic symbols of Belfast. They will take her on a time-travelling journey through the city's history in a unique show, co-created with local residents, brought to life by a cast of professional and community performers and featuring music from acclaimed composer Neil Martin.

2. Balmoral Show, Lisburn, County Antrim, 15-18 May. Visit Northern Ireland's largest agri-food event with competitive livestock classes, international show jumping, displays and arena attractions. The 155th Balmoral Show has more than 600 trade stands to browse, hundreds of competitions and classes and a wide range of family entertainment and attractions. Make sure to stop by the food pavilion and sample the very best of Northern Ireland’s produce.

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3. Pots, Petals & Pizza Evening, Ballynahinch, County Down, 17 May. Visit The Café at Montalto Estate for a fun and interactive evening with petals and pizzas. Discover how to pick and design a beautiful floral plant pot to match the upcoming summer season. Select your own plants and, with the creative assistance of the head gardener, put together a floral pot to adorn your garden. Rewind and relax with an artisan pizza, fresh from the pizza oven and a glass of Montalto wine or bottled beer to complement your evening.

Little Amal, County Antrim- Courtesy of ArtsektaLittle Amal, County Antrim- Courtesy of Artsekta
Little Amal, County Antrim- Courtesy of Artsekta

4. BEE Inspired, Bushmills, County Antrim, 18 May. Join the team at The Giant's Causeway to get the buzz on how to care for Bees at Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make your own bee nesting box to help solitary bees thrive in your garden and enjoy bee-themed shows on the cinema screen. The Giant's Causeway's very own resident Beekeeper, Dr Cliff Henry, will also be making a special appearance.

5. Danu Young Women's Choir, Derry~Londonderry, County Londonderry, 19 May. Join the award-winning Danu Young Women's Choir at Derry~Londonderry’s Guildhall for an afternoon/evening of history through song. Come for classics like Amazing Grace, Parting Glass, Báidín Fheilimí and Star of The County Down. Or enjoy new hits like Nathaniel Adam's arrangement of Black is The Colour and Elaine Hagenberg's, O Love. Whether you love Irish Trad, Classical, Choral or Vocal Jazz this concert has what you need to fill your soul - history, culture, music and love.

6. Here's to the Craic 'n' Ceol, Belfast, County Antrim, 19 May. Immerse yourself in a true Belfast pub experience. This spectacle is packed with music, song and dance, embodied in the spirit of the past but with the added ingredient of electric tempos. Talented musicians and dancers will encourage you to actively participate, maximising the authenticity of the display.

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7. Enniskillen International Market, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh,17-19 May. The Enniskillen International Market returns to Enniskillen Castle, on the stunning shores of the River Erne. Taste delicous local food and browse crafts from around the world in the historic grounds of the Castle. Organised by Market Place Europe, this event is free for all to enjoy.

8. SUP & Sauna, Killinchy, County Down, 18 May. Dive into the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation at Strangford Lough Activity Centre's exclusive SUP Paddleboard event, in collaboartion with Sudor Sauna. Embark on a thrilling 1.5hr stand-up paddleboard journey across the pristine waves of Strangford Lough. With expert guidance from skilled instructors both beginners and seasoned paddlers will effortlessly glide across the lough before indulging in the ultimate post-paddle relaxation of Sudor Sauna’s wood-fired haven or plunge buckets for those looking for a rapid cool down. This unique event offers the perfect combination for those seeking both excitement and relaxation.

9. OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory, Davagh Forest, County Tyrone, throughout May.Take a journey through time and space with a visitor experience that’s out of this world. Book your visit to Northern Ireland’s only International Dark Sky Park. Fully guided by an experienced tour guide, the centre will give you a unique opportunity to experience the night sky as it is rarely viewed. From holographic installations to virtual reality headsets, use the latest tech as we explore our solar system. You can even stargaze using telescopes to view the night sky without light pollution giving you crystal clear views of star constellations and the Milky Way.

10. Muldoon's Picnic, Armagh, County Armagh, 15 May. Enjoy a cabaret-style evening of poetry, prose and music hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. The show is named after a popular New York vaudeville act and an Irish American knockabout farce from the 1880s. Don’t miss special guests apperances including Booker prize winning Anne Enright, poet Jane Clarke and musician Colm Mac an Iomaire.

For more information on what’s on, or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit discovernorthernireland.com.